Jun 9, 2022 - World

Biden tells Summit of the Americas democracy is "under assault around the world"

President Joe Biden speaks during opening ceremony of the the 9th Summit of the Americas at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on June 8.

President Biden speaks during opening ceremony of the the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden formally opened the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles on Wednesday by announcing a new regional economic partnership plan and declaring democracy a "hallmark of our region."

What he's saying: "As we meet again today, in a moment when democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of American histories, but the essential ingredient to Americas' futures," Biden said during his speech.

  • "Our region is large and diverse," he added. "We don’t always agree on everything. But because we're democracies, we work through our disagreements with mutual respect and dialogue."
  • Biden also proposed a new economic framework for Latin America that focuses on climate change, workers' rights and supply chains, which he said "will help economies grow from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down."

The big picture: The U.S. sees its return as host of the Americas summit for the first time since the inaugural 1994 meeting as an opportunity to strengthen ties with Latin American and Caribbean nations that have drawn closer to China in recent years.

Yes, but: The meeting has been overshadowed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's decision not to attend the summit due to concerns about the exclusion of the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

  • The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were also absent from the event, AP notes.
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